University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
This time-lapse video shows the development of a microscopic worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) embryo from the one cell stage to hatching. The nuclei are tagged with a green fluorescent marker and an important genetic regulation molecule involved in later embryonic development appears in red. The worm C. elegans develops with an invariant lineage, which means the cells divide in the same order and position in every embryo. This unique property enabled the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of programmed cell death. Researchers also utilize the invariant lineage to compare the expression of critical developmental genes, many of which are conserved between humans and nematodes, in normal and mutant C. elegans embryos. Zacharias and Murray’s research is supported by the NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
* Genetics Society of America
† Society for Developmental Biology